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Top five tablets for 2017

By Jack Turner

We tell you the best tablet to buy, whatever your needs. We pick five of the very best tablets we've tested, and tell you which is right for you.

Put us to the test

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Whether you're after a tablet for catching up with Netflix on your commute, or simply looking to write the odd email from home, we've tested tablets from all major brands, such as Apple, Samsung, Microsoft and Amazon, and can recommend the right one for you. 

The models below are the ones we think are essential in 2017. From tablets that are expensive but indispensable, to cheaper options that don't break the bank but do get the job done, we've picked something for everyone. 

We've also picked out some tablets you'll really want to avoid, let down by sluggish interfaces, terrible battery life, and unresponsive touchscreens. 

Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations in the table below. If you’re not yet a member, you can get instant access by taking a £1 trial to Which?

Top five tablets of 2017

Today's best price £515.59
Which? score 83%
Reviewed Jun 2017
Best Buy
Features:
4 out of 5
Screen quality:
5 out of 5
Battery:
4 out of 5
Performance:
5 out of 5
Operating system:
Member exclusive
Processor speed (GHz):
Member exclusive
Actual internal storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive
Today's best price £593.99
Which? score 83%
Reviewed Mar 2016
Best Buy
Features:
4 out of 5
Screen quality:
5 out of 5
Battery:
4 out of 5
Performance:
5 out of 5
Operating system:
Member exclusive
Processor speed (GHz):
Member exclusive
Actual internal storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive

This tablet is a fantastic everyday device that has more than enough power for all but the most demanding apps. It's easy to use too, with an interface that's simple to grasp.

Today's best price £533.99
Which? score 83%
Reviewed Apr 2017
Best Buy
Features:
4 out of 5
Screen quality:
5 out of 5
Battery:
4 out of 5
Performance:
4 out of 5
Operating system:
Member exclusive
Processor speed (GHz):
Member exclusive
Actual internal storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive

A marathon 12 hour battery life, and stylus that allows you to draw directly onto the screen place this already impressive tablet right at the top of the wanted list. With impressive specs to boot, this device is bound to please.

Today's best price £1,096.04
Which? score 76%
Reviewed Nov 2015
Best Buy
Features:
4 out of 5
Screen quality:
5 out of 5
Battery:
3 out of 5
Performance:
5 out of 5
Operating system:
Member exclusive
Processor speed (GHz):
Member exclusive
Actual internal storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive

A marriage of tablet and laptop, this Windows device is a good choice for anyone who doesn't want to fully leave behind their spreadsheets and word documents.

Typical price £50.00
Which? score 56%
Reviewed Jun 2017
Features:
4 out of 5
Screen quality:
3 out of 5
Battery:
4 out of 5
Performance:
3 out of 5
Operating system:
Member exclusive
Processor speed (GHz):
Member exclusive
Actual internal storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive

A bit of an outlier, this tablet isn't a Best Buy, but for those on a budget it's an excellent choice, coming in well under £100. With enough power for everyday tasks, it's a smart and cheap choice.

Pricing, recommendations, and test scores correct as of August 2017.

Not found the product for you? Browse all of our tablet reviews

And here's three tablets to avoid

Let down by poor battery life and slow processors that take an age to get anything done, these are the models that did so badly in our lab tests, we'd recommend you avoid them. Pack these into your bag, and you're bound to be disappointed. 

Three tablets you'll want to avoid

Typical price £84.00
Which? score 43%
Reviewed Dec 2016
Features:
4 out of 5
Screen quality:
3 out of 5
Battery:
3 out of 5
Performance:
3 out of 5
Operating system:
Member exclusive
Processor speed (GHz):
Member exclusive
Actual internal storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive

With its pixelated screen, lacklustre audio and slow speed, there's little to say about this tablet, aside from a warning to leave it well alone.

Typical price £50.00
Which? score 36%
Reviewed Jul 2014
Features:
3 out of 5
Screen quality:
2 out of 5
Battery:
2 out of 5
Performance:
3 out of 5
Operating system:
Member exclusive
Processor speed (GHz):
Member exclusive
Actual internal storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive

One of the cheapest tablets we've ever tested, this also happens to be one of the worst. It's a textbook example of how NOT to make a tablet.

Typical price £54.00
Which? score 31%
Reviewed Dec 2016
Features:
4 out of 5
Screen quality:
3 out of 5
Battery:
2 out of 5
Performance:
3 out of 5
Operating system:
Member exclusive
Processor speed (GHz):
Member exclusive
Actual internal storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive

A slow processor and just 1GB of Ram means that this tablet is sluggish and unresponsive, making a for a frustrating user experience.

Five tips for picking the best tablet

If you're still torn over which tablet is best for you, here are five ways to make sure that the tablet you're looking at is a winner, not a sinner. 

Battery life

Designed to be taken with you and used on the move, battery life is an important aspect of picking a tablet. Some of the best will last you over ten hours before needing a recharge, but the worst will only give you a few hours tops before demanding to be plugged back into the wall socket. Try and aim for one with at least six to seven hours - anything less and you'll likely get frustrated with constantly having to plug it back in. We don't just take manufacturers' battery claims at face value - at Which?, we conduct thorough battery tests to see how long tablets really last.

Processor

The processor is effectively the brains of the tablet, and dictates how quickly it can open apps, browse the web and do pretty much anything. Make sure you pick a processor with a Quad Core chip - you'll find models with Dual Core chips are available at the lower end of the market, but these will be slow and sluggish.

Ram

Ram is the memory of the tablet (not to be confused with the storage, below), and the more you have of it, the faster the tablet will be. A lot of budget tablets come with just 1GB of Ram, which won't cut it unless you're only using the tablet for the very basic of tasks. 

Storage space

Keep in mind storage space, if you're looking to store a lot of movies, pictures, apps and files. Some tablets come with just 8GB of storage, with the operating system taking up half of that. You can cheaply add more storage to many tablets by adding a cheap micro SD card, but make sure you do your research first, as some tablets can't be extended in this way (in particular, Apple iPads won't let you add a memory card).

Operating system

Tablets come in three flavours of operating system - Google Android, Apple iOS and Microsoft Windows. In reality, it's closer to a two-horse race between Android and iOS - Windows tablets have yet to truly compete with the popularity of either. No one operating systen is truly 'better' than the others - they all essentially do the same thing in letting you run apps and use a touchscreen. Which one is right for you depends on personal preference. Android is a very open system that allows for a lot of customisation, Apple is more of a closed shop, but with an interface that is finely tuned and easy to use, and Windows on a tablet is practically the same as Windows 10 on a computer. 

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